16 February 2016

Iraqi Kurdish Leader Calls for Non-Binding Referendum on Independence

CAIRO – President of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani said that it is time to hold a non-binding referendum on independence for the region, noting that nothing can prevent the Kurdish people from expressing their right to self-determination.

“The referendum is non-negotiable but does not mean proclaiming statehood immediately,” Barzani said in a statement released by the Kurdish presidency in the last hours.

It is “the will and opinion of the people of Kurdistan about their destiny and for the Kurdish political leadership to execute the will of the people at the appropriate time and conditions,” he added.

He was also surprised by the statements of some countries in the region that spoke out against the referendum, and accused them of interference.

Independence is an old claim of the Iraq’s autonomous region, which was planning to hold a referendum in 2014, but was postponed due to the advance of the Islamic State in northern Iraq.